Many nutritionists believe that the modern diet, which revolves around grains, sugars and dairy products, and to which humans are insufficiently adapted, is at the root of almost all “diseases of civilization” (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, depression, allergies, etc). With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the ancestral health movement (“paleo”) is gaining most followers among the health-conscious.
However, although the paleo diet is an important element of paleo lifestyle, living according to paleo principles is much more than changing your eating plan. Paleo living is about adopting a specific outlook on life.
Our sedentary, stress-filled lives are made even more stressful by continuous contamination from electronic devices, information overload and the pace of modern living. The paleo lifestyle is about learning how to lead a more natural life – sleep when it’s time to sleep, be physically active and fit, and reduce stress and tension by slowing down.
Paleo lifestyle – living in sync with nature
Paleo lifestyle is about recreating the Paleolithic era lifestyle in the present day. The idea is that since humans evolved in that era, and lived like that for about 2.5 million years, their body and mind are best adapted for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. On the other hand, agriculture, which appeared only about 10,000 years ago, brought with it sedentary lifestyle and grain-based diet. Worse still, the industrial era, the period we live in now, began only about 200 years ago and has been characterized by unprecedented economic and scientific growth, but also high levels of stress, pollution and massive nature degradation.
From this, anyone can see that insufficient time has passed for humans to adapt to the changes brought on by the farming, let alone the industrialized lifestyle. Therefore, the main idea of the paleo living is that this forced and unnatural switch to a lifestyle humans were not made for, is what has brought on most of the health problems of modern times. Humans are neither physically, nor psychologically, meant to live this kind of life.
Proponents of paleo lifestyle, focus their efforts on these 5 areas:
The idea of paleo diet is to eat more whole, nutrient-rich foods like vegetable, meat, eggs, seafood and some nuts and fruit, and avoid processed foods, sugar, seed oils, grains, legumes and dairy.
It is no secret that industrialized food production, and particularly GM (genetically modified) foods, are all linked to autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
Our ancestors spent a lot of time being physically active, so whether you go to a gym, walk, run or simply engage in “green exercise” (contact with nature, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, etc) is up to you, as long as you’re moving.
Physical activity not only helps you burn calories, it helps protect you from heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and even anxiety and depression.
Try to bring yourself more in sync with the natural world. For example, synchronize your sleeping pattern to the circadian rhythm, ie your “internal body clock”. Sleep when it’s time to sleep, ie at night, and be active from as early in the morning as possible. Or, be more active in spring and summer and slowdown in winter, to allow yourself to rest and recharge your batteries.
The “slow movement” is about slowing down life’s pace and making time to “savour” days and hours, rather than rush through life. It’s a kind of a rebellion against the compulsion to hurry and live in the fast lane. It’s part of the growing awareness that faster is not always better. We have become addicted to speed and everyone is expected to cram more and more into their days and lives. Why do you think so many people feel tired all the time, going through life by ticking off their to-do lists without the time and energy to actually enjoy any of it?
Earthing – reconnecting with the Earth
Paleo lifestyle is also about reconnecting with Nature. We have not only lost touch with nature and its rhythms, we have alienated ourselves from it to such a degree, that many people actually find nature threatening, or see it only as resource to be exploited while it lasts.
You can reconnect with its rhythms and ways by spending as much time outdoors as you can and by paying attention to all life around you.
One of the easiest ways of reconnecting is through the process of Earthing. Earthing happens when you absorb the Earth’s electrons while walking barefoot outside or sitting, working or sleeping indoors, if you are connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body. Earthing is known to improve sleep, ease chronic pain and reduce overall stress levels and tension.
This explains why camping, when we sit and sleep on the ground, makes us feel so alive.
Ancestral health benefits
Ancestral health means living like people lived hundreds of thousands of years ago, when the life followed the natural rhythm and you ate whatever seasonal food was available.
Although the paleo diet is the “normal” diet for human kind, for a number of economic, social and practical reasons, it is unlikely to ever become a mass movement.
Besides, some aspects of this diet may be challenging for certain groups of people: vegetarians and vegans, those who for health reasons need to take yogurt or the elderly who can no longer digest raw vegetables.
However, there are practically endless ways of using the paleo diet, and even those who occasionally “cheat” will benefit from it, as long as their overall lifestyle becomes more nature- and health-oriented.
These are some of the benefits that following the ancestral health movement principles and the paleo diet can bring:
- Leaner, stronger muscles
- Increased energy
- More stamina
- Clearer, smoother skin
- Weight loss
- Better performance and recovery
- Stronger immune system
- Enhanced libido
- Greater mental clarity
- Thicker, fuller Hair
- Clear eyes
- A healthier and happier YOU
We don’t belong in crowded, concrete cities. Our true place is under the open skies, in clean air and exposed to the life-giving Sun. Nature restores, rejuvenates and revitalizes, and to benefit fully from its healing powers you have to tune-in, connect and allow yourself to be healed. Paleo lifestyle can help you do that.